Patrol: Both drivers in I-94 quadruple fatal steered away at last second before head-on crash
JAMESTOWN, N.D. - The North Dakota Highway Patrol has released the results of its investigation into a July 6 crash that killed a West Fargo family of three and the drunken driver of a pickup going the wrong way on Interstate 94.
The report indicates both drivers tried to take evasive action just before impact. There were no pre-impact skid marks, according to the patrol.
According to witnesses, 28-year-old Wyatt Klein of Jamestown drove east out of the Crystal Springs rest area using the westbound entrance ramp and was going 75 to 80 mph in the wrong direction on I-94.
The other vehicle, a Subaru Forester carrying Aaron Deutscher, 34, his pregnant wife, Allison, 36, and their 18-month-old daughter, Brielle, had just finished passing a semi and moved back into the driving lane of westbound I-94. The report doesn't indicate how fast the Deutscher was traveling before the crash.
Before the collision, which occurred about half a mile east of a hill crest, Klein moved from the passing lane into the driving lane that the Deutscher vehicle was traveling in.
Just prior to the crash, Aaron Deutscher steered left and Klein steered right, resulting in a head-on crash with an overlap of 80 to 90 percent, the report states.
The report also describes Klein's activities in the hours leading up to the crash at 7:16 p.m.
According to the report:
Klein had left work at Double JJ Manufacturing in Gackle at 3 p.m. so he could get some paperwork to his attorney regarding a family custody case in which he was attempting to gain custody of his son. An employee who worked near Klein said he hadn't been drinking at work.
Klein went to his camper in Gackle before traveling to Streeter. He arrived at DJ's Bar about 4 p.m. and had two beers there, the bar's owner said.
Klein left the bar and went across the street to Friend's Bar at 4:30 p.m. He was there until 6:15 or 6:30 p.m., and during that time he consumed five to six beers and three shots of tequila. He also took two unopened beers with him when he left.
While at the bar, Klein - who was deaf - wrote a note to a cook that he was going to Fort Torren (it's believed he meant Fort Totten) and asked how far Steele was from Streeter.
The patrol believes Klein then traveled north on Highway 30 from Streeter to I-94 and drove west on I-94 to the rest area.
A blood sample showed Klein had a blood-alcohol level of 0.25, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent for driving.